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Recorded ('named') vote allowed or prohibited for decisions in confidential session?

0 votes

 If a parish council meeting properly goes into confidential session during which discussion and consideration is to culminate with a vote on whether or not to accept a committee's recommendations on a confidential matter, can a recorded vote of names be requested and minuted for openness and transparency as to how each respective Member voted (ie, in favour or against)? 

Notably LGA 1972 Schedule 12, Para 13 states at 13(2) On the requisition of any member of the council the voting on any question shall be recorded so as to show whether each member present and voting gave his vote for or against that question.   

So does the fact that a vote was conducted in confidential session necessarily entail Minutes only stating whether or not the Council accepted a Committee's recommendation, and preclude the recording of a 'named' vote of the outcome among Members present? The wording in (2) does refer to "voting on any question" and seems on the face of it to apply to any vote regardless of it being held in public or confidential session. ... Or is there any legislation or rules that overrides that and prevents a recorded vote from being requested and held on a decision taken in confidential session?   

And, if a recorded vote should be permissible, but a request for it (as well as individual Members' requests to at least record their own respective individual vote as being for or against) is refused and ruled to be prohibited for decisions in confidential session, then what might be the ramifications on the outcome - especially if some Members then feel compelled to leave the room in order to prevent risk of being associated with a particular, entirely unattributed outcome and therefore disenfranchised from participating in the vote in which they were barred from recording merely whether their vote was for or against

by (180 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
It's hard to  be certain, but I'd agree with the implications in your question. SFAIK there is no qualification on the right to insist on votes being recorded. (The right to have one's own vote recorded is usually taken to be implied by the wider right). Items dealt with while the public are excluded must be minuted, although naturally the details of the decision may be kept in subsidiary documents that are kept confidential. So I'd think that votes must be recorded if a request is made while the item is being discussed.

As to recourse, the only effective action is to take the matter to the High Court. But that is rarely going to be justified, given the cost and effort involved. Short of that, the only option is to seek wider discussion on the implications of the statutes.
by (30.2k points)
0 votes
Taking the matter purely as outlined, I can't see any reason to refuse a named vote when requested in accordance with standing orders whether requested during a confidential session or not.  However, I've never understood the rationale for a named vote.  The council is a corporate body and each member is bound by the decision of the majority, whether they voted for, against or abstained on any subject.  What difference does it make whether you leave the room, vote against or for provided you've actually voted?   Councillors who fail to vote, however popular or unpopular that might make them, are not fulfilling their duty as a councillor.
by (810 points)
It’s about wanting a formal record that you have stuck to your principles and voted accordingly. And about recording who supported something you feel may not align with the wishes of local citizens. A council does not have collective responsibility, in the way the cabinet does. And issues will come before the electorate from time to time.

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